You may have heard about the condition known as “Insulin Resistance” or IR, but haven’t paid it much attention since whenever most of us hear the term “insulin” we immediately associate it with diabetes.
This association with diabetes (both type 1 and 2) is certainly appropriate, but thinking that the condition of insulin resistance doesn’t apply to you since you aren’t currently diabetic may be overlooking a possible cause of some of the health problems that you’re experiencing as well as the root cause of your weight problems.
At its worst, it may be leading you down the path towards eventually developing type-2 diabetes.
Let’s first have a look at some material you probably covered back in your first biology or life sciences class. If you recall, metabolism is the process within your body whereby a chemical transformation takes place that converts the nutrients you take in into energy within the cells of your body. This process is essential for keeping your body alive and kicking.
Along the path of this chemical transformation, certain nutrients (food and drink) are broken down and a form of sugar known as glucose is extracted from them. In turn, the presence of glucose in your blood stream causes your pancreas to secrete a hormone known as insulin. Insulin’s job is to store the glucose coursing through your blood after a meal into a form of stored energy to be burned for later use.
Insulin accomplishes this by converting the glucose in your blood to glycogen for storage within the cells of your liver and muscles. Glycogen is a stored source of energy that your body can draw from when the need arises. In the case of people who are insulin resistant, the glucose in their blood continues to rise despite the presence of insulin. If this situation continues over a long enough period of time, then type-2 diabetes will most likely develop.
There are several warning signs of insulin resistance, but the ones that I think are most important to pay attention to are listed below:
- Fatigue and over all mental fogginess
- Being overweight, with most of the fat distributed around the mid-section
- Acid indigestion and chronic heartburn
There are several other symptoms of insulin resistance, but the ones above are the ones that were most prominent in my own case of IR prior to changing my eating habits. Family history (genetics) also seems to play an important role in determining insulin resistance. My maternal grandfather had type-2 diabetes, which I believe to be a factor in my own insulin resistance.
Other factors that can possibly indicate insulin resistance are: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hypertension, elevated blood glucose levels, and elevated cholesterol levels – conditions, all of which, I exhibited. You could say that I was probably the poster child for insulin resistance!
What’s particularly insidious about insulin resistance is that it eventually takes on a snowball effect and spirals out of control. The accumulated fat around your mid-section reaches a point where it becomes like another organ in your body that secretes a hormone.
In the case of visceral fat (fat deep inside your abdominal cavity surrounding your internal organs), the secreted hormone causes your body to lay down even more fat. As you can see, things can get out of hand rather quickly until you find yourself standing on the threshold of crossing over into developing full-blown type-2 diabetes – definitely not a good place to wind up!
It was only when I decided that enough was enough, and I made some fundamental changes to what I consumed that things took a dramatic turn for the better in everything from my weight and appearance to my overall health and well-being.
I won’t ever truly know just how close I actually came to developing type-2 diabetes like my granddad, but I’m confident that I never will as long as I stick with my current nutrition and lifestyle plan.
My hope is that you’ll let me share my plan with you and that you too experience the same benefits from it as I did and still do today.